The heavy lifting is finished. Your new training program is aligned with your strategy. All subject matter experts have signed off and blessed the content. The program addresses a critical need in your organization. The communication plan is rock-solid. Success measures are in place and ready to roll.
Then, the training fails.
A well-written learning and development (L&D) plan is great, but execution and delivery is everything — and it’s where many training programs fail. As training professionals know, there are infinite ways for programs to go off the rails, and many of them are out of our control. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of any organizational issues that exist before finalizing your training delivery plan.
Below are seven of the most common training delivery fails. They might seem obvious, but it’s easy to be mired in the details and miss the forest for the trees. Plan ahead to avoid these pitfalls as you roll out your next training program:
1. The Delivery Method Is Wrong
Training delivery should be learner-centered, so don’t choose an all-online learning program for tech-averse warehouse workers or a traditional classroom training model for a sales team that is on the road. Knowing your learners is key. Training design needs to take into account the learners’ preferences, which means considering a variety of learning methods — classroom training, workshops, e-learning, videos, simulations, webinars, on-the-job training, mentoring or a blended approach — to determine which will be most effective for your learners.
2. The Timing Is Off
Sometimes, organizations mistakenly pick the wrong moment to introduce their training initiative. Whether it’s during budget presentation season, the annual management retreat, quarterly review crunch time or open enrollment, their training is lost in the noise of competing programs. Other company priorities take precedence, and the program loses momentum and is forgotten.
3. Drinking From a Fire Hose
We’ve all been here before: You have a lot of information to deliver in a short amount of time. You create training content that is technically on point, but there’s way too much information to absorb. People simply cannot retain complex information in a compressed amount of time, and they will quickly forget what they learned. Consider chunking content into modules and delivering them over time, with opportunities for learners to apply new skills between modules.
4. The Purpose Is Murky
In this case, the initiative makes sense to you and your team, but when you roll it out to employees, its purpose becomes lost in translation. People don’t embrace what they don’t understand or value, so don’t overengineer it, and avoid jargon. Keep your communications clear, the benefits to the learner well-defined and your action items straightforward. Clearly spell out why the organization is requiring this training and how it serves the business, its customers and its employees.
5. Your Champions Don’t Deliver
You need more than a cursory conversation to enlist your training champions. You need a plan for them to be committed and involved early. Keep your champions in the loop throughout the training rollout, and provide clear expectations regarding their communication and support.
6. Dropping the Ball
Once we deliver training, it’s usually on to the next priority. We often miss post-training follow up and application strategies, and employees quickly forget their new skills. Make sure to incorporate follow-up activities, assessments and coaching check-ins to ensure that learning sticks and training participants apply their new skills back on the job.
7. Learners Don’t Know “What’s in It for Me”
It’s the oldest question in the world: What’s in it for me? Every day, employees are pulled in a million different directions. It’s imperative they understand the value of attending your training program. How will it help with the day-to-day struggles they currently face? Will it save them time or reduce stress? Will it help them move up in their career? If the benefits aren’t crystal-clear, they will push training to the bottom of their priority list. Consider incentives like certifications, public recognition and, yes, free lunch to boost employee motivation and engagement.
Don’t let your expertly crafted training program become lost. Stick the landing by putting as much effort into the delivery plan as you do into the training itself. It’s time well spent, and it will make sure learners absorb, retain and implement your training content.